Archive for the ‘Apple Tech News’ Category

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If you are an iDevice developer or a PR representative for any company making apps (whether gaming or any other type of app it doesn’t matter) I am now offering my services to write press releases for your upcoming app or just-released app.

The rates will depend on the type of press release I am writing (length) and whether the developer will provide all the information we will put together into a nice format. If we have to do additional research and interviews (say of a CEO) I will charge more. The prices are negotiable, so feel free to e-mail me and inquire.

If you e-mail me, I can send you some samples of ones I’ve written. I mostly followed the prmac.com format. Here are recent samples of what I’ve written for a contact:

IntelliVocab 1.5 Released to Improve English Vocabulary Interactively

IntelliVocab for Business Announced

iCan ABC Announced

References:

Lana Parker
PR Manager
lana760@gmail.com
Twitter: @VelvetMobile

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[Update] This is a recent rewrite of the April update. I no longer work for AppAdvice and Tablets.com has been turned into an eCommerce site. So below is the current update:

Lately, I have also been learning and expanding my skill base into graphical design (with Photoshop and ArtStudio so far) and video editing (Final Cut). I am willing to take freelance clients in these endeavors as well as writing. I am a journalist first and foremost with a BA degree, so that is where my specialty still lies. I have experience covering events, adding my own multimedia, and now even graphical design and video editing to the mix. I hope a big publication or blog notices me one of these days as journalists need too.

One of the things that got me interested in digital art is my nature is that of an artist. I also think writing is both informing the reader and it is an art all onto itself. The advantage of being able to use Photoshop or digital image-editing well for Web writing, is you can spice up blogs and blog postings with good use of imagery.

I am now looking to expand to higher-paid writing jobs and take on freelance assignments in graphic design, press release-writing and video editing.

Thank you, Mike

And guess what? It’s coming Friday, the 11th. Apple’s next tablet iteration was unveiled yesterday at an Apple news event in the same downtown area and timeframe as the Game Development Conference (GDC 2011)– that was and still is underway.

What is kind of ironic, is that at GDC 2011 many iPhone and iPad developers were trying to showoff their upcoming apps. Yet Apple swayed many bloggers and journalists from that conference and into their own news event — with Steve Jobs speaking.

Here is a piece I posted for tablets.com — Where I’ve been writing as of late — about how Apple really tried to crash Nintendo’s GDC announcement and timed their own event to run concurrent to Nintendo’s.

Nintendo also took some jabs at Apple (although not directly), according to various sources present at Nintendo’s keynote, where Nintendo President Iwata made a speech.

Iwata basically claimed that Nintendo games are superior and Tablet and smartphone games are too cheap and ruining gaming. Here is what he said according to Jim Dalrymple from Loopinsight:

“Iwata said he considers Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft to be the only ones making high-value gaming products.”

So he thinks Microsoft makes quality products? I wonder if he says the same thing when it comes to their operating systems.

This just shows how scared Nintendo is right now and threatened it the compny executives must feel by Apple and Google. Someone should ask Iwata when a game with the scope of Aralon, or an Elder Scrolls type of experience hits the Nintendo handheld.

Here is my coverage of the iPad 2 and what it will offer for Tablets.com:

iPad 2 Revealed by Jobs Himself

Enough with iPad 2 Specs, How Bout Some Software News

This was my story for Appmodo that had a different spin with all the info presented in one post concentrating on specs, features:
iPad 2 Specs Unveiled from Apple Event

Although impressive technically and in regards to the added cameras, I will probably hold off on the upgrade until the iPad 3 and here is the reason why.

A Photoshopped image I made using ‘Art Studio HD’ for one of the Tablets.com posts:

Taken from Flickr by David Ortez

A private school in Tennessee, called Web School, has decided to go digital with their textbooks for students with the iPad.

According to 9to5Mac, the Knoxville-based Web school will actually require all fourth-grade to 12th-grade students for next year to purchase or rent the iPad. To rent the iPad it will only cost $20 per month.

It is great to see schools make the transition to digital media and embrace new technology like the iPad. The iPad is very lightweight, portable, and offers great eBook, PDF readers. Students of all ages are sick of carrying heavy books around.

Since many of these students are already wanting the iPad or some tablet, this will be a way to teach them to use it for more than just listening to music or watching movies. By embracing the technology, a teaching method can become fun for even the usually less-motivated students. On the other hand, there could be drawbacks to this method of teaching, like the students being distracted with all the other features the iPad offers to even finish reading their textbook.

According to the article by 9to5Mac, distractions like Twitter and Facebook will be blocked somehow on campus though.

[9to5Mac]

It appears that News Corporation and Apple are really trying to make The Daily a total success and delayed the publication to figure out how to make it most successful.

Magazines not long ago saw a drop in readership on the iPad and the news must have been discouraging to Apple. This is the reason for the delay I think as Apple wants to make The Daily as successful as any print newspaper has been and possibly revolutionaize news. Rupert Murdoch probably wants the same thing to happen as does Steve Jobbs.

Apple might see the future of newspapers not on newsstands but on electronic devices such as the iPads and other tablets. Can this be the true savior of the journalism industry and “print” media? Could we, as journalists, be working from our homes and actually making big bucks while reporting, writing, and taking images-videos of news and features?

Yes, many of us are already doing this, but I mean with nice profits added on and the professions shifting this way from newsrooms. I think a journalism degree and good writing should account for something. Combined with being Web savvy, being able to edit videos, blog and add Images — we should be compensated for our work — even though we love it and would do it anyway.

I myself hope to write for some big publications or at least be compensated for my writing and would love to see online magazines and newspapers, even ones exclusive to tablets, a huge success.

Publishing eBooks on the App Store, writing for online media outlets and newspapers as well as blogging are perfect examples of citizen journalism, new media and traditional good reporting converging. Now with the iPad and the tablet revolution, lets hope the success and reinvention of journalism will finally happen. Despite common perception, I think it’s a great time to get into the field.

According to Engadget, the iPad 2 might have a new and faster processor and a retina-like display with double the current pixel density. It might also sport an SD card slot.

I think the rumors sound wonderful if true but a bit farfetched. That is if the iPad successor, rumored to be coming out and unveiled within months, is to remain at current price points.

The SD card slot rumors sound plausable and really necessary in my opinion. I believe flash memory is too expensive to match what netbooks have as storage with movable hard drives so slots like SD is where Apple needs to expand until the prices and technology advances.

Dual cameras are also rumored to be included and I think there is a very likely chance of this happening. No reason not to put that in as the current iPhone 4 has dual cameras. Facetime or some sort of Skype conference calling would rock on an iPad.

I also think that the iPad will have more accurate or higher-def pixel density than the current model, but it really begs the question of how much higher res the display will be.

One thing that is absolutely necessary in my book is for the second iPad to have more ram and be geared from the get go for multitasking. 512 mb is the very least but I would like to see a gig in there. The ram is also more expensive and not the standard ram sticks we see in computers or netbooks however but I believe Apple can pull it off.

[Engadget]

-I also posted this editorial on NoDpad

As many iDevice users and touch gamers know, a DOS emulator was released for the iDevices about a month ago and pulled by Apple the very next day. The emulator works a bit more natural and works better on the iPad than the iPhone due to it’s larger screen and two orientation viewing angles it offers. It even has a layout depicting mouse buttons and a computer keyboard that can be switched off to full screen with icons of touch keypads. Evidence of this can be seen by googling iDOS as mostly just iPad articles pop up with a brief mention of the iPhone version that was also released.

In terms of apps and games that this emulator supports, the results are very mixed — this is mostly because of speed issues. The emulator also requires either basic knowledge of DOS command prompts or some experimentation and instructions in order to segregate files correctly and get games running. Despite this, the DOS is the home of many great games and classics that started some of today’s most popular game series. Elder Scrolls, Warcraft, Fallout and it’s Wasteland prequel started on DOS. many of the greats will not run fast enough on this emulator in it’s current state but other games will. It takes some fiddling with the configuration file at times as well to get some games up and running at the max potential.

Here is a list of games that I found quite playable and enjoyable that is worth trying out on iPads:

The original Warcraft is quite good here with speed being just fast enough to enjoy. Panzer General is another good little strategy gem that plays quite well and has a slow turn-based pace that runs quite well. Darklands is an amazing open world role playing game for its time that plays very well and I highly recommended. Survivor horror Alone in the Dark does slow down but is just playable enough to keep on the list. Zeliard is a very interesting 2d platformer with RPG elements that plays well. Jazz Jackrabbit series are some other great platformers I recommend. Pirates is also worth a try as it runs just smooth enough. And, Master of Magic is an interesting strategy game and works great as well.

These are just some examples of games I have got to play quite nicely and will continue to enjoy on this emulator but there are many more not mentioned worth trying. On the iPad it’s wise to set the cpu core config to normal and cycles around 3500 worked for me most of the time as the best default setting in the dospad.cfg configuration that can be saved and replaced via iTunes. Many of these games have their own niche of configuration to run well like. An example of this is Ultimate Underworlds and Ultimate 7 requiring an opposite setting in dospad.cfg — one needs xmx=true and ems=fale and the other the opposite — although both run too slow to be truly enjoyable they show a glimmer of hope to what kinds of western RPGs could be made. The other issue is that adding and replacing files can be confusing as dragging zipped files is the only thing you can do via iTunes and not actually entire game files with subfolders.

One thing the emulator has shown me is what is possible in the iPad’s future. If games like Warcraft can be enjoyable and fun to play imagine what Blizzard could do with RTS games if they embrace the device like ported all three Warcrafts to the App Store. What’s interesting is many pc games could be done with a fake mouse icon and this has hampered some genres before. The emulator shows that a fake icon that you control via touch but not directly touching the icon itself but touching the screen near it thus not obstructing view, can work quite well. The iPad’s screen is big enough for this kind of control to work. Before fiddling around with this emulator I was only exposed to RTS games on the App Store that have direct finger control like touching units or drawing boxes around them for control. This brings a whole new idea and option that can be done for such genres like RTS games. What bugs me about the current way RTS games selection controls are is sometimes you end up selecting the wrong units or have a hard time making a box the perfect size with your fingers for the units you want to command.

Beside RTS games, the emulator shows how classical PC games like Pirates and Might of Magic could work great if embraced on the IPad by the big companies. I think the iPad can offer potential for many classical computer games to be revived and even complex or hardcore games can work. The battery life of the iPad and screen space allows this vs. the other iDevices although I believe there is room for all of them. Many of these games are known for landscapes with large view screens and different caves or dungeons to explore and find on a world map. I really like what I have seen from iDOS despite speed and configuration issues and hope Apple will find a way to embrace such emulation whether by buying the rights from Gates himself or only offering limited quantity of games like the current ZX and Commodore 64 emulators do. I have seen a recent resurgence of classical gaming on the App Store and in gaming in general with titles recently being released on the App Store like Warlords Classic that recently was released.

The Apple Ipad is a really nifty lightweight gadget. Rather than just a gadget, I can almost call it a third-hand of mine ever since receiving mine that I just I had to have. Despite what some critics say, it is much more than just a smartphone or Another iPhone. It has pretty much all the features of the iPhone plus applications specifically built for the larger screen like Pages. Certain applications need the width and height of the iPad to function well, hence why I don’t think word processing has a future on the iPhone but it does on iPad. Surprisingly, the touch-toned keyboard is very responsive and efficient – much more so than the iPhones and a Bluetooth keyboard is easy to connect. Though due to the Os setup there is no bluetooth mouse connectivity so that kind of defeats the use of the keyboards in my opinion. The whole gist of the iPad is in how well the Os is setup for touch interface-use however in the sense you can do everything from quickly moving the cursor between letters by holding down a point to getting rid of entire URL entries by clicking an x that is much easier to navigate than with the iPhone.

The thing that sets the iPad apart from the standard desktops for me is the portability of the device which includes it’s lightness and the ability to put it between your arms while walking – thus having your hands free – and the fun or slickness of it. The $40, iPad case is really a must though and makes the experience much better. Besides protecting the shell and screen, it allows the iPad to independently stand upright in front of the user like a monitor instead of having to hold it like a book.

The battery life is incredible and in my book one of it’s selling points to both iPhone-heavy users and laptop-heavy users – both probably hassled by having a power source nearby and their charger cables on hand. The iPad will pretty much go whole day without having to be charged and that includes in a night or dark lighting.

Some of the downsides – which are often blogged about and mentioned on tech websites – are the competitive software restrictive practices of apple. For instance Adobe Flash is inaccessible despite the fact many websites rely on it for content or are based off Flash. However Apple does have a point in terms of the battery drainage and processing power bottlenecks that result from many Flash applications and websites. Many apps, like Farmville, also have their own AppStore versions that can downloaded for free off iTunes, or for some small change, and run much more efficient than the official flash-web variants. ITunes is very easy to use and prices are just right in my opinion especially compared to Windows-based applications or software you have for notebooks (including netbooks).

Another downside is the integration of some apps like trying to add attachments to e-mails is difficult -although I heard there are some apps for this on iTunes – or wanting to add files off the iPad to websites through browse selections. The lack of USB ports is another shortcoming.

Despite some downsides the iPad really made web browsing fun again and took away most of the hassle away associated with portable computing. Besides the already-mentioned shortcomings of laptop-devices not having to scroll with a notebook scroller or have to carry a mouse on you, is another thing to think about in terms of comfort and portability. I even use mine standing up in Starbucks restroom lines for instance without any discomfort or heaviness of the device.

Integration of various applications needs some fine tuning but it is not bad at all with some patience and practice. For example I wrote an early version of all three of the first blogs in one long iWord document and copy and pasted parts of each – including a block of text between two others with the drag commands. I pasted these blogs, or block a of text, onto each post here on WordPress that I also downloaded from the App store free.

I have also recently added my blue tooth keyboard from my iMac to the ipad and it is a nifty little addition despite the fact I was trying to find a mouse with my right hand at the same time. It just seems as second nature and it would be a cool addition of Apple gave you the option to use it in addition to the touch interface. However I understand the limitations and that the main draw for the iPad is obviously its portability.

One thing I also want to mention is how I love the fact portrait and landscape modes offer such different experiences to users and tailor to people who want different things out of their iPads as each offers advantages and disadvantages in typing and visibility.

I suggest for anyone that does a lot of web surfing or on-the-go computing to try one out, and look what the iPad really has to offer before dismissing it as another smartphone or netbook. As I’m typing right now competitors are emerging that include the infamous Samsung Galaxy, but Apple clearly set the tone in this market and brought tablet-computing on the map as an alternative to the notebook.